Yunesky Fornaris has been sentenced to nine years in prison for engaging in Medicare fraud. The former owner of Miami’s Elite Home Care LLC, a now defunct company, pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal healthcare program of millions of dollars.
In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Joan A. Lenard has ordered he must forfeit proceeds from the scheme in the amount of $15.1 million. As part of his guilty plea, Fornaris admitted he had systematically used his company to bill Medicare for home health care services on behalf of ineligible patients.
The misconduct began around April 2010 and ended in July 2016, when the government investigation put an end to it. Fornaris was indicted twice, in March and June 2017, on several counts including conspiracy to commit healthcare and wire fraud, conspiracy to pay kickbacks defrauding the federal government, and money laundering.
During his time as owner of Elite Home Care, Fornaris tried to conceal his interest in the company, which had a nominee owner, in an effort to distance himself from the ongoing scheme to defraud Medicare.
Among other violations, Fornaris and his co-conspirators, which included his wife, paid kickbacks to Medicare patients and patient recruiters and submitted false claims to the government healthcare program for services that were either medically unnecessary or never rendered.
Fornaris routinely offered incentives to patients who were ineligible for the type of home health services provided by his company, in order to bill Medicare on their behalf. He also defrauded the government by indicating the company was owned by the nominee owner in its Medicare enrollment application.
In a press release announcing the sentencing, the Department of Justice explained,
“Fornaris admitted that he knew or had reason to believe that most of Elite’s patients were not eligible to receive home health services because they were not homebound. Had Medicare known that Fornaris paid bribes and kickbacks to attract beneficiaries to Elite, Medicare would not have paid any claims submitted on behalf of those beneficiaries."
The case is part of the government’s consistent efforts to stop Medicare and Medicaid fraud across America. An endeavor of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, it was prosecuted by Lisa H. Miller (Assistant US Attorney, Florida, Southern District) and Adam G. Yoffie (US Attorney, Fraud Section).
Since its implementation in 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged thousands of defendants whose combined Medicare billings amount to over $11 billion.
Medicare fraudsters cheating the taxpayers are operating at epidemic levels. If you have information and proof of healthcare providers scamming government programs like Medicaid or Medicare you can help stop these cheats and Florida whistleblowers and others may be eligible for a substantial reward. Call Us Now 888.742.7248 or Connect Online